Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. People of all ages are susceptible to heart problems, but the risk of developing a dangerous cardiovascular condition goes up as you age. Poor cardiovascular health is a major threat, but it doesn't have to be inevitable. You can take many steps to minimize your risk of developing heart disease. At Modern Heart and Vascular, we emphasize prevention and early intervention for cardiovascular health in seniors.
Heart Health Risks for Seniors
Your heart is a muscle that changes with time. Several factors can lead to a decline in your heart health sooner rather than later. While some changes are the natural result of aging, you can take steps to delay or reduce their progression. You also have control over several modifiable risk factors that affect your chances of developing heart disease.
Common risk factors among seniors include:
- Age: Risks associated with heart disease increase after age 65.
- Activity level: Regular physical exercise strengthens the heart muscle.
- Diet: Certain foods, like salt and fats, negatively affect your heart health more as you age.
- Tobacco use: Smoking cigarettes weakens your heart and blood vessels, causing damage that worsens over time.
- Underlying conditions: Properly managing existing conditions like diabetes can help you avoid heart-related complications.
While you cannot eliminate or totally control all of these factors, you can take measures to address them and manage your heart's rate of aging.
Common Heart Conditions in Elderly Patients
Your likelihood of developing heart disease increases with age. The phrase "heart disease" covers a broad group of conditions related to the cardiovascular system, many of which become more serious in older patients. Common heart health problems among seniors include:
- Coronary artery disease: Over time, fatty deposits accumulate on the walls of your blood vessels. This plaque builds up gradually and narrows blood flow to the heart, resulting in coronary artery disease (CAD). An inadequate supply of oxygen-rich blood can result in severe damage, such as a heart attack. Older adults are more susceptible to CAD as plaque builds up in their blood vessels throughout their lives.
- Arteriosclerosis: As you age, your blood vessels become increasingly stiff, affecting their ability to move blood around your body. Arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries around your heart. This condition causes high blood pressure, or hypertension, which increases the strain on your heart and puts you at risk of a stroke, heart attack or aneurysm.
- Arrhythmia: An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, whether too fast, too slow or otherwise abnormal. Many arrhythmias are harmless, while others are possibly dangerous or life-threatening. Problems related to an irregular heartbeat are more likely in elderly patients. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia and increases your risk of stroke.
Visit Our Private Senior Heart Health Clinic
The specialists at Modern Heart and Vascular understand the unique risks and challenges associated with senior cardiovascular health. We use advanced technology and a person-centered care approach to address common heart conditions in elderly patients. To learn more, contact us online and schedule a consultation with a cardiologist today.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.